Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
To think there are people in the present-day comic book industry that fail to respect colorists is hard to believe. Yet, as we noted late last month, colorist Jordie Bellaire wrote about her work being minimalized when an unnamed convention refused to name colorists as guests. The post resulted in an impromptu #ColoristAppreciationDay on Twitter as well as a larger conversation about the important value of colorists.
In the wake of that discussion, I chatted with Bellaire about the post, as well as her work as a whole. The timing turned out well, as despite her busy schedule, she was able to do an interview. It seems as if every week there’s a new comic released that features her as colorist. This week it’s Captain Marvel #10, while next it’s the debut of The Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror miniseries written by Roger Langridge with Bellaire coloring artist J. Bone. Bellaire saves the best for last in our Q&A, revealing that she hopes to get back to illustrating — and that she has dabbled in writing.
Tim O’Shea: In all of the reactions from your initial Tumblr post in praise of colorists, what pleased or surprised you the most?
Jordie Bellaire: The response itself was extremely surprising! I didn’t expect anything to really come of my angry little blog post. I try to keep my “internet persona” pretty humorous and silly. I don’t really get “for realsies” worked up over anything online (unless it’s something Star Wars-related). When I posted this at 7 a.m. on hardly any sleep (I was in a tough deadline week, of course), I expected maybe three people to see it and those would have been just friends. Somehow, though, the letter spread fast. I was just thrilled. Given, keeping up with the response during the day totally killed my productivity, I was too busy watching the internet explode in the name of colorists.
Happy Presidents Day weekend, America, and happy Sunday to everyone else. Welcome to a very presidential What Are You Reading?, which really isn’t that different than a regular one, but you can imagine every entry being written by Daniel Day-Lewis if you’d like.
Today our special guest is Chris Smits, publisher of Aw Yeah Comics Publishing! and blogger at Creator-Owned Comics. Aw Yeah Comics, of course, is the all-ages comics series being created by Art Baltazar and Franco, with help from folks like Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Jason Aaron and many others … including Chris. If you’d like to get your hands on the adventures of Awesome Bear, Daring Dog, Polar Cycle, Marquaid, Action Cat and more, then let me point you to their Kickstarter campaign, which has hit its goal but you can still get in on the fun (and the comics!)
And to see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
He’s one of the most prolific creators in comics, but odds are only a small segment of his audience knows him by name. One of the foremost colorists in the industry, Dave Stewart is in demand as a collaborator for today’s top artists, and one of the most versatile players on the comics scene. He’s also dominated the Eisner Awards’ coloring category, winning seven of the past nine years.
I reached out to Stewart because I’m an admirer of his work and, because frankly, we don’t hear nearly enough from him. We talked about his place in comics, and his role as frequent collaborator with the likes of Mike Mignola and J.H. Williams III. I also asked about his early ambitions to become penciler, and the potential of trying that again some day.
Following Thursday’s announcement of the gold titles for Free Comic Book Day 2013, Dark Horse has revealed the rest of its lineup, which includes the long-awaited debut of The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, by Gerard Way, co-writer Shaun Simon, artist Becky Cloonan and colorist Dave Stewart.
Announced in 2009, the follow-up to the acclaimed Umbrella Academy originally was described by the frontman of My Chemical Romance as “almost like a strange kind of love letter to the really great comics of the ’90s that kind of pushed things.” However, in the three years since the announcement, a lot changed.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where today we welcome special guest Ron Marz. Marz has written everything from Green Lantern to Witchblade, and you can currently find him working on comics like Artifacts, Prophecy, Blackburn Burrow and The Ride: Southern Gothic. He also writes the column Shelf Life for Comic Book Resources and can be found on Twitter.
To see what Ron and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Writer Brian Wood has released a brief trailer for The Massive #4 that not only teases the story and showcases the work of new artist Garry Brown — he replaces original artist Kristian Donaldson — and colorist Dave Stewart, but also offers up some catchy music. (Wood welcomed Brown to the series last month with a Q&A on Comic Book Resources.)
The Dark Horse series follows direct-action environmentalists in the wake of a crippling global ecological disaster as they sail the oceans aboard the Kapital in search of their lost sister ship the Massive, coming up against pirates, thieves and murderers as they try to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
In Issue 4, which arrives today, pacifist Captain Callum Israel is confronted by a ghost from his past as a corporate mercenary as he searches for essential supplies in the black market.
Warren Ellis spotlights the gorgeous autumnal cover by Rafael Grampá and Dave Stewart for the third issue of The Massive, the upcoming environmental thriller from Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson, reminding me that I’ve meant to point out just how fantastic their variants for the series are. Seriously even if I weren’t a fan of Wood and Donaldson’s work on Supermarket or intrigued by the concept of The Massive, I’d still pick up the new series just for these covers. (Dark Horse, can we get some posters?)
Grampá, who made a splash in 2008 with Mesmo Delivery, is also working on his own post-apocalyptic saga called Furry Water and the Sons of the Insurrection.
The Massive debuts June 13. In the meantime, check out Grampá and Stewart’s variant covers for the first three issues below.
Jonathan Case, artist of Green River Killer and creator of Dear Creature, was the big winner this year at the Stumptown Comic Art Awards, taking home two of the awards’ unique trophies this past weekend during the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Ore.
Nominees in each category were chosen by a panel of judges consisting of comics industry professionals, journalists and retailers, and then voted on by the comics-reading public. This year’s winners are:
Jonathan Case, Green River Killer
Brandon Graham, Prophet
Jaime Hernandez, Love and Rockets
Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo: Fox Hunt
Dave Stewart, Hellboy: House of the Living Dead; Chimichanga
Best Publication Design
Petrograd, Tyler Crook and Keith Wood
Lies Grownups Told Me edited by Nomi Kane, Jen Vaughn, Caitlin M.
Best Small Press
Fugue #1 by Beth Hetland
Best New Talent
Jonathan Case, Dear Creature, Green River Killer
Vic Boone by Shawn Aldridge, Geoffo Panda
Here’s an even more eclectic list than the Los Angeles Times Book Prize nominees: The graphic novel contenders for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award:
Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol (First Second)
Locke & Key, Volume 4, by Joe Hill (artist: Gabriel Rodriguez) (IDW)
Green River Killer, by Jeff Jensen (artist: Jonathan Case) (Dark Horse)
Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine, by Jonathan Maberry (penciler: Laurence Campbell) (Marvel)
Baltimore: The Plague Ships, by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden (artist: Ben Stenbeck; colorist: Dave Stewart) (Dark Horse)
Neonomicon, by Alan Moore (artist: Jacen Burrows) (Avatar Press)
I added in the artists because apparently the Stoker folks were only thinking about writers. I’m impressed with how broad the selection of books is, given that they all qualify as “horror” to someone: Anya’s Ghost, while genuinely scary, is a teenage ghost story, Green River Killer is true crime, Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine is a superhero story, admittedly with something that sounds a lot like a zombie twist. The other three are closer to what I think of when I think of “horror,” but they are all still quite different from one another.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week’s special guest is Simon Monk, an artist whose “Secret Identity” paintings we featured here on Robot 6 not too long ago. Monk is actually selling limited edition prints of his paintings on his website now, so go check them out.
To see what Simon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hiya kids, it’s time for What Are You Reading?, a weekly look into what the Robot 6 crew has been reading lately. Today’s special guest is Thom Zahler, creator of the delightful superhero/romantic comedy comic Love and Capes.
To find out what Thom and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Written and illustrated by Eric Powell
Colors by Dave Stewart
This comic is an all-ages story written as only Eric Powell (creator of The Goon) could write it. It’s basically the classic formula of a little girl and her pet monster, with a couple of hard twists thrown in, starting with one that is obvious on the cover: The little girl, Lula, has a beard and mustache.
That’s a daring choice all right, and Powell adds to it by giving Lula blank black eyes, so at first, actually, I thought she was wearing a V for Vendetta mask. But no, it’s all her, and it quickly becomes clear that far from being a caprice to make the book outrageous, Lula’s beard is an important part of the story.
Lula’s grandfather runs an unimpressive little circus featuring acts like Randy, The Man With the Strength of a Slightly Larger Man and an amazing two-eyed goat, and it’s not doing very well. There’s also a boy-faced fish that has a tendency to freak out.
The action starts with Lula getting a delicious chimichanga from a food stand. As she walks back to the circus, a witch beckons to her. “Whoa, Nelly!” Lula responds, “I’m not going into that house! It looks like Vietnam!” Then the witch farts. That’s pretty much how the whole book works, with Powell trotting out cliches from children’s literature and subverting them with snappy dialogue and fart jokes, which is why Chimichanga is one of those rare books that works for both children and adults (well, adults who can tolerate fart jokes, anyway). There’s not a bad word in the entire book (“Raspberries!!” is Lula’s biggest swear) yet it’s sharply written from an adult sensibility.
Lula trades the hairs for what she thinks is a shiny rock, but a few minutes later, the rock cracks and a monster climbs out—and eats her chimichanga. The monster, whom Lula promptly dubs Chimichanga, is big and hairy but not particularly fierce, so he is a perfect asset to her grandfather’s circus, although the other performers don’t like upstaged.
Spoilers after the cut.
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is Shannon Wheeler, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the Eisner Award-winning comic book Too Much Coffee Man, Oil & Water, the Eisner-nominated I Thought You Would Be Funnier and the upcoming Grandpa Won’t Wake Up.
To see what Shannon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Comics | A July house fire in Minneapolis that killed homeowner Gary Dahlberg spared his meticulously preserved comic-book collection, which experts say could be worth $1 million. The comics, which includes first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Daredevil, will be sold at auction on May 5 by Heritage Auction Galleries, with the money going to Dahlberg’s estate. “To go for the really big money they have to be really perfect, and that what these are,” says Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auction Galleries. “The comics look like they just rolled off the printing press and nobody’s ever touched them.” [KSTP TV, with video]
Crime | A 17-year-old boy accused of attempting to rob Fun 4 All Comics & Games in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Monday has been arraigned on charges of assault with attempt to rob while armed and attempted larceny. Police say the teen, wearing a blond wig, bandanna and dark glasses, gave an employee a list of merchandise — “most, if not all, of it Yu-Gi-Oh! cards” — then opened his coat to reveal what appeared to be an improvised explosive device. The boy allegedly threatened to detonate the bomb if he wasn’t given the merchandise. When the employee yelled for the owner to call police, then teen said he was only joking, then bought some inexpensive items and left the store. The sheriff’s department later arrested the teen in his car in a Burger King parking lot. The Michigan State Police bomb squad responded, and determined the potential explosive device was inert. [AnnArbor.com]